A £400,000 plan is being drawn up to try and enhance tourist facilities at rural locations in Moray.
Concerns have been raised that increasing numbers of visitors to the region are putting infrastructure under more stress at a time when public sector finances are too tight to maintain them.
A trend towards holidaying in Scotland this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in communities being pushed even closer to the limit.
Now Moray Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Visit Moray Speyside are preparing to team up on a “coast to country” project to improve access at tourist hot spots.
Proposed upgrades include expanding the car parks at Hopeman and Ben Rinnes, electric charge points at cycle racks at Fiddich Park in Craigellachie, improving the path to Bow Fiddle Rock near Portknockie and chemical toilet disposal points at Cullen, Portknockie, Ballindalloch and Portgordon.
Meanwhile, the Findhorn Village Conservation Company could also get involved to improve parking facilities at the beach while making changes to cater for campervans -with plans to run the toilet block also being drawn up.
Laurie Piper, chief executive of Visit Moray Speyside, said: “This is the first of a number of initiatives where we will work in partnership with Moray Council and others to deliver improvements to visitor infrastructure over the course of our term.
“Our region has seen the benefits of increased tourism in recent years but it has also suffered the impacts which some communities are feeling sharply.
“The aim of this project is to address, as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, some of the problems that those popular tourism hotspots in Moray are experiencing, and hopefully in time for next season.”
Papers being put to councillors next week recommend contributing Moray Council’s £138,000 allocation from the Scottish Government’s coastal community fund to the project.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is considering providing the necessary match-funding for the improvements.
In a report, Reni Mulburn, Moray Council’s economic growth and regeneration manager, said: “This presents an opportunity to address increasing issues with mobile homes and disposal of waste and has the potential to create a network of facilities.
“Options currently being explored include charging mechanisms for the use of the campervan waste disposal facilities.
“This in turn would potentially incentivise community ownership of toilets where an additional income stream could be realised that could offset the costs of running the toilet.”